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Laurene Weste: September is River Rally time in Santa Clarita

Live from City Hall

Posted: September 3, 2009 6:22 p.m.
Updated: September 3, 2009 6:20 p.m.
 
The Santa Clara River is a part of the city of Santa Clarita in more ways than one. While providing a home to many species of plants and animals, the river also annually brings together thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time to ridding it of trash and debris. This year marks the city's 15th annual River Rally Cleanup and Environmental Expo.

The event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Newhall, with everybody meeting at the Newhall Community Center on Market Street, just off Railroad Avenue.

The river cleanup will involve removing trash from the Santa Clara River, the last natural, unchannelized and wild river in Southern California.

Since 1994, the city of Santa Clarita has hosted the annual River Rally Cleanup, which attracts thousands of Santa Clarita residents who volunteer and participate. To date, more than 300,000 pounds of trash and debris from the Santa Clarita River and its tributaries have been removed.

The River Rally Cleanup is an excellent volunteer experience for clubs, organizations, students, scout troops and entire families to help preserve our local Santa Clara River's natural beauty and variety of wildlife.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome. Participants will be provided gloves, collection bags and refreshments. The first 1,500 volunteers will receive a commemorative giveaway.

In addition to the river cleanup, an Environmental Expo will be held where visitors can learn about recycling, air quality, pollution prevention, water quality, open space preservation and wildlife conservation. The Expo will feature more than 20 exhibitors and sponsors.

The Santa Clara River's hundred miles of water runs straight through the heart of Santa Clarita, from Acton to the Pacific Ocean.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the Santa Clara River is the largest river system in Southern California that remains in a relatively natural state.

The river is home to several rare species, including the unarmored three spine stickleback and tidewater goby, both small fish.

The estuary is also home to the western snowy plover and the least tern, both small birds, all federally listed as endangered species. In total, 14 bird species and six plant species residing in or near the river are listed as endangered or of special concern.

It is important for us, as residents of Santa Clarita, to preserve the quality and well-being of the Santa Clara River to ensure a long and continued life for these endangered animals.

In addition, the river contains 57 archeological sites and 12 historical landmarks that are precious.

It is very important for community members to help preserve the river's natural beauty and variety of wildlife, and we invite you to join us in that effort.

The Newhall Community Center is located at 22421 Market Street. Pre-registration is not required, but is available at www.santaclarita.com/cityhall/cmo/environment/RiverRally.asp.

Pets are not permitted on the site during the River Rally Cleanup.

For more information, go to www.santa-clarita.com/environment, contact the city's Environmental Services Division at (661) 286-4098, or send an e-mail to environment@santa-clarita.com.

Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita councilwoman. Her views reflect her own and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live from City Hall" runs Fridays in The Signal and is provided by the city of Santa Clarita.

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